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December 22, 2005

Your Turn: Jobs Vs. The Google Boys


Google Guys

(image 1: ART STREIBER FOR TIME.  December 18, 2005. People Who Mattered. (image 2: WILLIAM MERCER MCLEOD FOR TIME.  December 18, 2005. People Who Mattered.

  • marysz

    In this photo, Jobs is a loner–he’s sitting in an impersonal space that looks like a company cafeteria during the off hours. In front of him is an ordinary white cup. Jobs’ creativity is interiorized, his exterior surroundings are secondary to the imaginative noise inside his head (although paradoxically he insists on nothing but the best design for his products). Sometimes that makes him tone deaf to the people around him, who have different aesthetic concerns. Here, he’s looking away from the photographer with a slightly bemused expression on his face. He’s his own best company.
    The Google guys are all about mutuality and consensus. What’s that thing behind them, a padded cell? All three men have their hands clasped in front of them. They’re in tune with each other and the clasped hands indicate a kind of modesty and lack of pretension (as opposed to the false piety and mock humility in the clasped hands of Benedict XVI in the photo above). Two of the guys are sitting on offbeat looking blue chairs–like Jobs, they tend towards the creative. They’re both wearing what look like white lab coats. Their visions are more empirical than Jobs’ are. And the padded cell behind them hints that they’re not worried about being considered crazy when they do things the tech establishment doesn’t approve of or understand.

  • JW

    The apple photo is interesting because of the light and dark textures. Half of Job’s face is skewed in shadow… so its not an accident that he wasn’t sitting on the other side of the table where his image would be clear. The cup in Job’s right hand stands out because its white and blank, but what else about it is captivating? Doesn’t it resemble an iPod?! Also, the other part of Job’s body is covered in darkness. As if he has something in the other hand that we cant quite see or dont yet know about! What does he have in his lap? Is it his next big hit?
    The google photo is also curious… which guy is out of place? That CEO Eric Schmidt doesnt look like he belongs. Larry and Sergei are both wearing white lab coats and sitting while Eric is wearing a suit and standing. And, why is Eric holding his legs in a wierd position? The white padded room behind them is certainly intriguing… what could they be keeping in there? And, if Larry and Sergei are so important, why are they on the outside looking in? Their white lab coats certainly give them a “scientific persona”, but their ubiquitous smiles say “BILLIONAIRES”!!

  • error27

    Steve Jobs has become a characture. He’s all about clean lines and smooth surfaces. The ipod is completely devoid of cruft and everyone loves it.
    On the other hand, cruft can be very humanizing. Gaudy things and unattractive things that we like for sentimental reasons add warmth and personality.

  • Chiaroscuro

    Jobs is a leader, as well as an artist among businessmen. He’s all about vision, thus he gazes into the distance. The photographic style itself is artistic, rather than newsy. The color palette duplicates the Apple palette. The furniture is very retro-moderne–a definite tip to Jobs’ sensibilities.
    The Google guys–they’re aggregators. They specialize in making connections and correspondences. The symmetrical composition emphasizes this. The clothing choices convey the idea of business undergirded by technology: Jacket for the guy who’s in the dominant position, labcoats for the seated guys. As for the set dressing, we have wacky modern chairs and padded walls–It says, “What a crazy, hip madhouse Google is!”

  • momly

    All I want for Christmas is stock in both companies.

  • bluecollarscholar

    Jobs’ photo is a pensive “pic-noir” of iconic marginalization. The Baby Boomer Techie takes stock on the way out.
    The Google Guys are our friends at school. They’re the Next Best Thing–posed just like the Beatles in their collarless jackets.

  • fotonique

    Sitting pretty?
    Google’s plastic Pop Art Panton S Chair is cantilevered out over empty space, defying gravity and magically levitating itself in a post-Internet Bubble (mostly upon constantly moving electrons). Nervous riders should beware of sudden popping noises (from Design Matcher):

    The Panton Chair anticipates the Pop Art culture. It was the first chair in the history of design without back legs and formed from a single piece of Fibreglass. It was a sensation in its day and was awarded numerous prizes. Verner Panton worked for years on the idea of creating a chair out of a single piece of plastic. The first prototypes appeared in the 1960s – in close cooperation with Vitra – and the Panton Chair went into mass production in 1967.
    …Panton’s stacking chair was wholly unified. It was the first single-material, single-form injections-moulded chair. The ‘unibody’ construction makes this chair unusual, and unreliable – early production models such as this one are reported to explode if sat upon with too much force.

    Note that the suit is the only one with his feet under him.
    In the spirit of brotherly love, job seekers might say that Apple’s aluminum Eurostyle Cafe Chair is “Four legs good, two legs bad!“, but it walks largely in the shoes of others. In an illusory and gradually disappearing market, Apple spielers may be singing a different tune (from Engadget):

    …Apple continues to face downward price pressure on the iPod and eventually they’ll be forced to cut margins on the iPod (all of ‘em) to the point where they’ll no longer be all that profitable (at least not at the kinds of margins that Apple is used to enjoying). Cringely thinks that the long term profit margins on iTunes downloads are better and more scalable than for hardware, so he thinks that they’ll start letting other companies make iPod clones that are compatible with the iTunes Music Store and then stop making their own iPods to focus entirely on selling downloads. Crazy? Yeah, but you know how Steve Jobs likes to pull unpredictable crap like this…

    Where you sit depends on if you’re still standing.

  • Mike Ryan

    It’s the guy in Jail (Jobs), vs. the guys in the sanitarium (Google). Who will win, the evil one or the crazy ones?
    Both are institutional settings — Jobs’s has those shadows reminiscent of bars, whereas the google guys have the padded walls and the lab coats that make them look like doctors.

  • readytoblowagasket

    I find these two photos pretentious (exactly because of the designer chairs) and uninspired (because of the static poses and sterile settings). Jobs, the Visionary, looks away from us into the distance. Page, Brin, and Schmidt, the Information Providers for the People, look directly at us. If we didn’t know who these men were in the first place, could we intuit anything about them from these portraits? Not much.
    Baby Boomers Jobs and Schmidt are the same age, as are Gen Xers Page and Brin. Jobs dropped out of college after a year; Schmidt, Page, and Brin all graduated from Standford (Schmidt with a Ph.D.; Page and Brin with masters degrees although neither has completed the doctoral program). Far-seeing Jobs makes products; happy-go-lucky Page and Brin made a database. Do their contributions really matter? Will they matter 20 years from now?

  • acm

    “adult supervision”?!
    looks like tech development is still seen as the plaything of adolescent geeks…

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